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Global Warming

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Global Warming or Climate Change, measurable increases in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and landmasses. Scientists believe Earth is currently facing a period of rapid warming brought on by rising levels of heat-trapping gases, known as greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases retain the radiant energy (heat) provided to Earth by the Sun in a process known as the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases occur naturally, and without them the planet would be too cold to sustain life as we know it. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s, however, human activities have added more and more of these gases into the atmosphere. For example, levels of carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, have risen by 35 percent since 1750, largely from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. With more greenhouse gases in the mix, the atmosphere acts like a thickening blanket and traps more heat.


Christianson, Gale E. Greenhouse: The 200-Year Story of Global Warming. Walker, 1999. A historical look at global warming. For general readers.

Harvey, Danny. Climate and Global Environmental Change. Prentice Hall, 2000. A textbook explanation of climate and of natural and human-induced climate changes.

Houghton, John. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2004. A comprehensive guide to the science and politics of global warming.

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature. 10th anniv. ed. Anchor/Doubleday, 1999. A popular classic that outlines the greenhouse effect and the actions we can take to combat it.

Moore, Thomas Gale. Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn't Worry about Global Warming. Cato Institute, 1998. Interprets global warming as a myth and hysteria rather than a legitimate environmental concern. For young adult and adult readers who wish to examine both sides of the global warming issue.

Philander, S. George Is the Temperature Rising? The Uncertain Science of Global Warming. Princeton University Press, 1998. Takes the middle ground between the extremes of the global warming controversy.

Schneider, Stephen H. Laboratory Earth: The Planetary Gamble We Can't Afford to Lose. Basic Books, 1997, 1998. A leading authority on climate change discusses the history of global warming.

Speth, James Gustave. Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment. Yale University Press, 2004. A call for action to stop the global warming trend.

Johnson, Rebecca L. The Greenhouse Effect: Life on a Warmer Planet. Lerner, 1990, 1994. A balanced approach; for readers in grades 4 to 6.

Maslin, Mark Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and the Future. Voyageur, 2002. Beautifully illustrated, for readers in junior high and up.

Silverstein, Alvin, and others. Global Warming. 21st Century, 2003. For readers in grades 5 to 8.


Mastrandrea, Michael, B.S., Ph.D. Research Associate, Center for Environmental Science and Policy; Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University. Coauthor of 2007: Climate Change Science and Policy and contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2007." Editorial board member of the journal Climatic Change.

Schneider, Stephen H., 3.8., M.S., Ph.D. Codirector, Center for Environmental Science and Policy; Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University. Member of the National Academy of Sciences. Coauthor of 2007: Climate Change Science and Policy and coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2007." Editor-in—chief of the journal Climatic Change.

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